Hockey Movies

* Recommended Titles

King of Hockey (1936)… Dick Purcell, Anne Nagel, Wayne Morris, George E. Stone, Joseph Crehan, Ann Gillis, Gordon Hart, Dora Clement, Guy Usher, Garry Owen, Max Hoffman Jr., George Beranger, Frank Faylen, Frank Bruno, Harry Davenport. Gamblers try to get star hockey player Gabby Dugan to throw games. [Purcell was on the Fordham University hockey team … other players are from the University of Southern California and Loyola University hockey teams.]

Idol of the Crowds (1937)…John Wayne, Sheila Bromley, George Lloyd. A retired hockey player makes a comeback to earn money to improve his chicken farm.  Just before the championship series, he is offered a bribe to throw the games.  Some wooden dialogue; but its John Wayne!

The Game That Kills (1937)… Charles Quigley, Rita Hayworth, J. Farrell MacDonald, Arthur Loft, John Gallaudet, Clyde Dilson. The star left wing of the Indians hockey team is killed during a game along with two of his own teammates under mysterious circumstances. His brother tries to bring he killers to justice.

It’s A Pleasure! (1945)… Sonja Henie, Michael O'Shea, Marie McDonald, Bill Johnson, Gus Schilling, Iris Adrian, Arthur Loft. Don Martin is a star Wildcats hockey player who is thrown out of the league for hitting a referee. He subsequently gets a job with Buzz Fletcher's ice show, marries the star but then loses her. Henie’s precision skating is the highlight of the film of course. [Henie won three Olympic gold medals in figure skating between 1928 and 1936.]

White Lightning (1953)… Stanley Clements, Barbara Bestar, Steve Brodie, Gloria Blondell, Lyle Talbot, lee Van Cleef. The Red Devils hockey team is losing because gamblers are paying off the star player. But a boyhood friend joins the team and sets him straight. Along the way, tempers flare over a woman and because of his arrogant attitude.

Face-Off (1971)… Art Hindle, Trudy Young, Eric Cryderman, John Vernon. Love story about a Canadian professional hockey player and a folk singer.  The story focuses on their trying to come to terms with career and lifestyle differences. Shot in/around Toronto; includes vintage NHL footage. Former pros George Armstrong and Derek Sanderson appear as themselves.

Paperback Hero (1973)… Keir Dullea, Elizabeth Ashley, John Beck, Dayle Haddon. Saskatchewan Hockey star is popular with the ladies but fantasizes he's a western gunslinger. Better than it sounds.

* Slap Shot (1977)… Paul Newman, Strother Martin, Michael Ontkean, Jennifer Warren, Lindsay Crouse, Jerry Houser. Newman is the player-coach of the Federal League Charlestown Chiefs, a minor league team going nowhere. Average script picks up with the arrival of the bespecled Hanson brothers who inspire the team to play dirty to win. Still the best hockey movie ever made but has way too much profanity for the kids. [The Hanson Brothers went on to play minor league hockey and in the NHL. The filming was scheduled to take place in the off-season, but brother Jack got called up because Edmonton made the playoffs. Dave Hanson took Jack's place and Jerry Houser was cast to play Dave's original role, "Dave 'Killer' Carlson." The Official Home of the Hanson Brothers - Steve Carlson, Jeff Carlson, Dave Hanson.]

* The Deadliest Season (1977)… Michael Moriarity, Kevin Conway, Meryl Streep, Paul D'Amato, Sully Boyar, Jill Eikenberry, Andrew Duggan. TV-movie exposes greedy promoters as the profiteers for violence they really are. This is Slap Shot played straight as aggressive player is brought up on charges of manslaughter after critically injuring a rival player (his best friend). Excellent hard-hitting script is well acted but unfortunately Moriarity is miscast in the lead. Also notable for Streep's film debut.

The Boy Who Drank Too Much (1980)… Scott Baio, Lance Kerwin, Ed Lauter, Don Murray, Ron Max. Buff Saunders is a high school hockey player fighting a drinking problem.

* Miracle on Ice (1981)… Karl Malden, Andrew Stevens, Steve Guttenberg, Jerry Hauser, Jessica Walter. TV-movie about the U.S. hockey team's gold medal victory at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics. Average story but enjoyable hockey scenes. Malden plays Coach Herb Brooks convincingly.

Hockeyfeber (1983)… A Norwegian hockey team, loaded with conflicts on and off the ice, hires the Finnish coach to whip them into shape. The team in the movie, Manglerud Star, is an actual Norwegian hockey team. Translated, the title means Hockey Fever.

Hockey Night (1984)… Megan Follows, Rick Moranis, Gail Youngs. A female goalie makes the boys Canadian hockey team. A nice little film suitable for the whole family to watch. Moranis also stars in football's Little Giants.

Generation (1985)… Richard Beymer, Hannah Cutrona, Marta DuBois, Drake Hogestyn. A man invents a new piece of equipment for pro hockey that his brother thinks will cause crippling injuries to the players and destroy the game.

Touch and Go (1986)… Michael Keaton, Maria Conchita Alonoso, Ajay Naidu. Prima-Donna hockey star gets mixed up with juvenile delinquent, falls for his mother and it changes his life. Bland script and typical dialog hurts entire film noted only for Keaton's reliable performance.

Youngblood (1986)… Rob Lowe, Cynthia Gibb, Patrick Swayze, Ed Lauter, Jim Youngs, Eric Nesterenko, George Finn, Keannu Reeves. Passive minor league hockey player Dean Youngblood is forced to deal with a demanding coach and an aggressive rival player. He's also dating the coach's daughter (she drives the Zamboni too). Predictable script but hockey sequences aren't bad with plenty of action between the Hamilton Mustangs and the Thunder Bay Bombers. Reeves, in his acting debut, is the goalie.

The Last Season (1986)… Booth Savage, Deborah Cass. An ex-NHL player is hired as a coach in Finland.

Brigitte Gall: Joan of Montréal (1990)… Joan runs up against the typical obstacles of trying out as the goalie on a boy’s hockey team.

Le Choix (1991)… Patrice Bissonnette, Judith Bérard, Gilbert Sicotte, Marc Messier, Denis Bouchard, Eric Hoziel, Michel Mongeau. Canadian TV-movie.

The Cutting Edge (1992)… D.B. Sweeney, Moira Kelly, Roy Dotrice, Terry O'Quinn. Injured Olympic hockey star meets Olympic ice skater hopeful and decides to help her win a gold medal in paired figure skating. Unique story idea works, as does the stars chemistry with each other. Some good skating scenes too.

* The Mighty Ducks (1992)… Emilio Estevez, Lane Smith, Heidi Kling. Lawyer Gordon Bombay must perform community service by coaching a raw bunch of pee wee hockey players. Disinterested at first, he is motivated by fair play, recruits a couple of new players and turns the team into The Mighty Ducks. As good as The Bad News Bears and better than Little Giants. Take the kids. Cameos by Dallas Stars' Basil McRae and Mike Modano.

Gross Misconduct (1993)… Daniel Kash, Peter MacNeill, Linda Goranson, Dough Hughes, Lenore Zann. The story of former NHL left-winger Brian "Spinner" Spencer. Spencer's saga is one of a life of violence. (He was shot to death at age 39.)  Spencer is shown in archival footage. Based on the book of the same title by Martin O'Malley. 

Airborne (1993)… Shane McDermott, Seth Green, Brittaney Powell, Edie McClurg, Patrick O’Brien, Chris Conrad. A teenage surfer from California has to stay with his aunt, uncle, and cousin in Cincinnati. He immediately gets on the bad side of the high school hockey players until they learn he is a very good inline rollerblader. Pass.

D2: The Mighty Ducks (1994)… Emilio Estevez, Kathryn Erbe, Michael Tucker. The Ducks get a chance to play in the Junior Goodwill games representing their country as Team U.S.A. Not as good as the original but the kids will still like it. Several cameos including Wayne Gretzky and Karim Abdul-Jabbar. Ducks fly together.

* Net Worth (1995)… Aidan Devine, Kevin John Conway, Robin Gammell, Carl Marotte, Richard Donat, Dan Lett, Michael J. Reynolds. Canadian TV-movie based on the true story of how Detroit Red Wings player Ted Lindsay tried to organize the first player's union in 1955. Other principals in the story include Gordie Howe, owners Conn Smythe, Jimmy Norris and Bruce Norris, coach Jack Adams and NHL commissioner Clarence Campbell. Most of the story is off the ice but the recreated hockey scenes are realistic. From the book by David Cruise and Alison Griffiths.

Sudden Death (1995)… Jean-Claude Van Damme, Powers Boothe, Raymond J. Barry. Below average story of the Vice President being held hostage during the Stanley Cup Finals in Pittsburgh. Lot's of action and special effects though.

D3: The Mighty Ducks (1996)… Emilio Estevez, Jeffery Nordling, Joshua Jackson. The Ducks win a scholarship with a chance to play hockey at an elite private school for a new coach. Strictly for the kids.

Les Boys (1997)… Marc Messier, Remy Girard, Patrick Huard. Canadian comedy about an amateur hockey team. Stan, the club owner, owes $50 000 to Méo so his team helps him out. Followed by three sequels. 

The Sheldon Kennedy Story (1999)… Jonathan Scarfe, Polly Shannon, Robert Wisden. Kennedy was an NHL player who suffered from sexual abuse as a junior hockey player. He now is a leading advocate against child abuse.

H-E-Double Hockey Sticks! (1999)… Will Friedle, Rhea Perlman, Matthew Lawrence. Disney comedy about an apprentice devil sent by Satan to steal the soul of a young hockey player. Based on the opera Griffelkin by Lucas Foss. Strictly for the kids.

Mystery, Alaska (1999)… Russell Crowe, Hank Azaria, Mary McCormick, Burt Reynolds, Colm Meaney, Lolita Davidavich, Maury Chaykin, Ron Eldard, Ryan Northcott. Comedy about a small town that overreacts when their local hockey team is chosen to play the New York Rangers in a nationally broadcast event. Somewhat entertaining but could’ve been better – it is too flat and clichéd. Phil Esposito, Barry Melrose, Mike Myers and Little Richard have cameos.

* Do You Believe in Miracles? (2001)… Documentary of the U.S. Olympic hockey team’s upset victory over the Russians in the 1980 Winter games. Included is live footage taken at Lake Placid, NY, and interviews with Jim Craig, Mike Eruzione, Jack O'Callahan, coach Herb Brooks, manager Craig Patrick, and Russian players Vladislav Tretiak and Boris Mikhailov, with commentary by ABC Sports broadcasters Al Michaels and Jim Lampley. Makes you proud to be an American. [Four platers went on to play in the NHL Brooks coached four years in the league.]

The Rhino Brothers (2001)… Gabrielle Rose, Curtis Bechdholt, Deanna Milligan, William MacDonald. A story of a Canadian family and one son's journey to make it to play in a professional hockey league. Supported and hindered by his immediate family, he rides an emotional roller coaster of emotions in the up and down life of a hockey player.

The Demo Crew (2001)… John E. Vitali, Susan Blake, Robert Pascucci, Tony Devon, Freddie Ganno. Anthony Valentine reforms his old gang into a recreational street hockey team. They aren’t too enthused until one of them is killed in a car accident. The players now bond together and become better friends than they'd ever been.

Slap Shot 2: Breaking the Ice (2002)… Stephen Baldwin, Jessica Steen, Gary Busey, David Hemmings, Hanson Brothers. A decent sequel, the minor league Chiefs are sold to a new owner with a female coach and in a league in which they regularly lose to a Globetrotters-like team. Did not receive a theatrical release.

* Miracle (2004)… Kurt Russell, Eddie Cahill, Michael Mantenuto, Patrick O’Brien Dempsey, Kenneth Mitchell, Nathan West. The true story of player-turned-coach Herb Brooks (Russell), who led the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team in the emotional upset victory over the Russians.

Hockey Mom (2004)… Tanya Allen, Colin Campbell, Andrew Chalmers, Jessalyn Gilsig. From imdb.com: Paula Taymore - who almost once made the Olympic team - finds herself drawn into a challenge match against an irritating local men's squad. Fresh from a painful divorce, and doubting herself, Paula must make a winner out of an explosive, irreverent crew of women hockey players who flock to her town, Red Deer Alberta, to assemble the team. Aka “Chicks With Sticks.”

Chicks With Sticks (2004)… Jessalyn Gilsig, Peter Outerbridge.  An almost Olympian must whip her female team into shape to play the guys in a challenge match.

* Maurice Richard (2005)... Roy Dubuis. The story of superstar hockey player Maurice "The Rocket" Richard.

The Love Guru (2008)… Mike Myers, Jessica Albers, Romany Malco, Justin Timberlake, Ben Kinsley. A guru is hired to help the star player of the Toronto Maple Leafs win back his wife and capture the Stanley Cup. Some funny moments but they are too few. Many cameos including Mariska Hargitay, Deepak Chopra, Jessica Simpson.

Red Army (2014)… A documentary about the Soviet Union's famous Red Army hockey team through the eyes of its players. They play in the Kontinental Hockey League. HC CSKA Moscow won more Soviet championships and European cups than any other team in history.

 

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